What are your personal and business brand non negotiables? Who you refuse to work with says as much about your personal brand as who you will work with. Are you willing to attract more clients by saying no to the wrong ones?
Are there industries that you just will not tolerate working for/with? Is there a type of person or business culture that is the antitheses of your values and moral compass? Is putting people before profit a core value? Is there types of work that you just do not enjoy? Is your business motivator totally money or greater complex factors? Would you turn a blind eye to corruption, bribery or untoward practices?
All these questions are a component of your personal brand values and business non negotiables. Once you truly understand what you will and will not tolerate and accept not only does your confidence grow but communication of your personal brand becomes seamless. And you will attract more of the right clients in the process, and repel the wrong ones by virtue of clever wordsmith and market positioning strategies.
Your business and personal moral compass will be one of your greatest brand assets. But holding your nerve takes some courage – to define the what and then say the no thanks in many ways.
Running a professional services business or consultancy (and especially in the first 12 months) is always a juggle of client decisions. When unpacking personal branding for clients we always start with an exploration of what type of services and clients they love to work with and want to attract.
Focus on your niche
Many service businesses and consultants, don’t have a clear focus on industry niche or specifics but on the type of person. It’s often a ‘personality style’ ie: flexible, not a penny pincher, honest, wants to grow etc etc. Its worth exploring a full mosaic of all 5 types of niches (personalities/culture/industry/work type/revenue value)
And whilst that is a small part of the puzzle for personal & business branding, it’s just the beginning. You need to dig further and go deeper around the type of clients you DONT want. And the best place to start is around your non negotiables – if you have them. Some don’t, and will take on anyone and everyone.
But for those who have non negotiables, values that matter etc you need to sort through the industries, people, behaviours, attitudes etc are not for you at any price ? Personal branding should encompass your values and what you will and wont accept. As ‘Your vibe attracts your tribe’ you draw in great 2-way partnerships.
But the challenge for many (esp those starting out in business) is they will accept anyone and anything for $$. And it often bites them in the behind down the track in many ways.
Getting really clear and communicating your non-negotiables elegantly to attract ideal clients (and repel the non ideal) is critical. What are your non-negotiables? How important are they for your business ?
Four tips to repel the wrong clients & attract the right ones
1. Get crystal clear with who you are. Communicate your real personal brand and vibe. Hold your nerve and be clear and engaging.
2. Write up avatar lists of clients you don’t want to attract. Get really granular and describe them clearly – industry, personality, values, methods etc and see clear patterns emerge.
3. Communicate powerfully on your website and LinkedIn a positive statement of who you work best with i.e.: “I deliver the best results for clients who have an understanding of IT and are willing to commit to 12 months for their R&D teams “ OR (as on my website) “I work with clients have a great sense of discovery, an open mind and a desire to review, try and do things differently. They are brave, have integrity and care equally about people and profits” Both examples whilst interpretative will self-select prospects to and away from you.
4. Be direct vs elusive – time is money. Clear communications is essential You could also add qualifiers to services, ie.: “Will suit xyz..’ I’ve seen a few businesses go as far as list ‘Won’t Suit xyz…” I’m not sure if that is always a great idea but can work (based on many variables).
Remember…..your vibe attracts your tribe